Frankie (Adrian Brody) spends ten years in prison for a crime he committed with his younger brother, James (Hayden Christensen). Luckily for James, he was able to get away with it unharmed because of Frankie. Now the elder brother is released from prison but has no money or place to go, while James was able to maintain his life, has a steady job and a plan in his mind to open a small business. Soon the path of two unfortunate brothers will cross once again to commit one more crime, to rob a bank. But the question is, who will get away with it this time?
When American Heist begins, we find the brothers living two different lives: one outside of the prison, the other one inside. The life of the elder one changes quickly as he finds himself enjoying his free life with friends and young women in a nightclub after being released from jail. We also find out about James, who has a full-time job as a car mechanic and wants to open a small business. However, the bank refuses to give him a small business loan, which makes our hero very disappointed. Shortly after, he meets his ex-girlfriend with whom he hopes to rebuild a broken relationship. But he finds it difficult to do, as the appearance of his brother changes all his plans, as they are on their way to earn, what they think, easy money….
The main issue of Sarik Andreasyan’s film begins when the two brothers see each other after ten years. Even though we are not given much time to find out what really happened between the two of them a decade ago, things start changing so fast it becomes hard to follow. Moreover, despite James’s desire to build his life and have a successful future, he allows Frankie to convince him into robbing a bank and go back to the criminal underworld, the thing that almost swallowed them both years ago. And while they are on their way to execute their dangerous plan, the viewer may find himself a bit bored, as the story and its characters are developed extremely poorly. Even though there are some hints and clues provided in the middle of the film, it is still not enough to hold the viewer’s interest and make them watch till the end.
Unfortunately American Heist, directed by Sarik Andreasyan, is a failed version of 1959’s The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery directed by Charles Guggenheim and John Stix. Andreasyan’s movie misses the target and is unable to bring his featured film to a level where the average viewers won’t feel cheated. Having a strong cast also does not seem to help American Heist, as even the actors were unable to find a connection with the characters they perform. And in the end, the only thing American Heist robs is the viewer’s valuable time and trust.
American Heist opens July 24 in Toronto!